There are three different version of SQL Server 2008 Express:
SQL Server 2008 Express
SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools
SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Services
What are the key differences? Which one should I download?
First let’s look at SQL Server 2008 Express and SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools – there is virtually no difference in functionality – the only difference is that the download package for the SQL Server Express 2008 with Tools includes a bare bones version of Management Studio to allow you to perform some admin functions from a nice interface. Well, there is one more little difference – SQL Server Express with Tools includes PowerShell Integration which otherwise would have to be installed separately. So which one should you download? Well, if you already have SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) installed on your machine then there is no reason to download the SQL Server Express 2008 with Tools.
When it comes to SQL Server Express 2008 with Advanced Services things are different – there are a few critical (this is relative term – those are critical services if you need them) services included in this edition that you otherwise don’t get:
- Integrated Full Text Search
- Reporting Services (increase RS memory limit; RS Word/Rich Text Export; IIS agnostic report deployment; Enhanced gauges & Charting; Business Intelligence Developer Studio)
Also, the SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Services includes Synchronization Services which in the other two editions would require a separate installation.
So, if you need any of those advanced services your choice is clear – download the SQL Server Express with Advanced Services.
You can learn more about SQL Server 2008 Express and download your copy from Microsoft’s official site at: http://www.microsoft.com/express/sql/default.aspx